-- Pres. Weah sends caveat to partisans who want to vote for opposition candidates in pending Senatorial Election
"It doesn't matter from which political party you come and join our Coalition; the NPP (National Patriotic Party) and the LPDP (Liberia People Democratic Party) are part of the coalition and every member of those parties must support our coalition. It does not matter who you are; if you can't support our coalition, you can go. We don't want trouble," President Weah said sternly as he endorsed the candidacy of Bong County incumbent Senator, Henry Yallah, in Gbarnga yesterday.
The President, who has been traveling from county to county to express his personal endorsement of candidates from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to win all 15 seats in the upcoming midterm Senatorial Election, appears to be sparing no expense and leaving no stone unturned.
So far, he has been present at rallies in Montserrado County (for Rep. Thomas Fallah), Grand Bassa (Gbehzohngar M. Findley), Grand Cape Mounty (incumbent Sen. Victor Watson), Bomi County (J. Alex Tyler) and now Bong County, for incumbent Senator Yallah.
Now, in the name of what he calls "party discipline", pundits suggest that his mandate that all members of the Coalition must support the Coalition's candidates, comes as an order too tall to achieve, or perhaps to bitter to digest -- more so the latter.
In recent months, partisans of the National Patriotic Party, who are by default members of the ruling Coalition, found themselves in a tussle over terms, after the Chairman of the Coalition, Mulbah Morlu, announced that all incumbent senators from the Coalition, who were seeking re-election, should earn back their seats in primaries. NPP incumbents, including Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais and Bomi County Senator Sando D. Johnson, both of who are up for re-election, complained to the National Elections Commission, which ruled in their favor to keep the Coalition in adherence to its own signed framework document.
Nevertheless, it has been an uphill battle, particularly for the NPP.
The NPP's highest-ranking official, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, who has had a rather rocky ride with the CDC so far, couldn't agree more. In her own words, she once almost quit the VP post, citing strained relations with her running mate, President George M. Weah. Also, the government at a time withheld budgetary allotments to her office for several weeks, to the point that her convoy vehicles were grounded due to lack of fuel to convey her to and from her office.
So when the President sounded his mandate to "support the Coalition's candiates, or go," he did not have to call names.
VP Taylor, who served as Senator of Bong County before becoming Vice President in 2017, had previously already made up her own mind as to who she would support in the coming election. And Senator Yallah would not be anywhere near her list (in not so many words), given his divisionary politics, manifested, among other things, in his vision is to divide Bong County into two new counties. She once referred to him as someone "difficult to work with".
It can be recalled that VP Taylor, while in Ghana seeking medical care for COVID-19, said she will neither support nor vote for any candidate in the upcoming December 8 Special Senator Election based on party lines, but through her own conscience.
Since then, and having returned to the country after recovery, the VP has failed to show up at campaign rallies of candidates of CDC contesting both the Senate seats as well as the Representative by-elections in Montserrado District #9 and Sinoe District #2.
Sen. Yallah, who recently resigned from the Unity Party, crossed over to the CDC in a bid to secure his senatorial incumbency in the December 8 polls.
Although President Weah did not mention VP Taylor's name, neither any other person, he warned: "Do not let your party down because, if you don't support your candidates, they will be out and you too will be out; so be careful of what you do."
He added: "We are family and must stick together and, if anyone wants to bring confusion, he or she should get out."
President Weah clarified that his statement was in no way a threat but the right thing to do in order to be party disciplined and to promote smoothly, the agenda of the ruling establishment.
He gave an anology: "You cannot be living with your parents and want to control them, even though they are responsible for you because you are their child."
He said Yallah is the right man for the job and he will support the Pro-poor Agenda when he is reelected to the House of Senate. Yallah had earlier suggested the division of Bong County into two counties; Bong Range comprising Salala, Fuamah and Sanoyea Districts, while upper Bong remains another county, but stakeholders in Bong, who have the same culture and are of the same tribe, have vehemently protested against this suggestion.
However, Weah said Yallah is a good man and he means well for the people of Bong County and Liberia at large.
"We need people like Yallah who will help us drive our agenda through. We want to succeed but it will be difficult for us when we have people who [are] always opposed to everything, even if it [is] about the benefit of the country," the President said as he admonished Yallah's own fellow County denizens to vote for him on December 8.
In direct reference to the National Patriotic Party (NPP), a constituent political party of the coalition, he pointed out that NPP is a Party but cannot stand on its own without the coalition and, as such, NPP partisans who are part of the grand coalition should vote all CDC candidates.
"You cannot be in the party and in the government at the same time and do not support it; the party will punish you if you violate its mandate," he warned.
In his response, Sen. Henry Yallah said he is optimistic that he will do better than what he did in the past nine years.
"I have learned enough over the past years and with the support I have now, I will do better," Yallah said.
He added: "We will work together to bring development to this County and Country at large, especially under the Pro-Poor Agenda."
David S. Menjor
David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.